War on Crime: Militarised Responses to Organised Crime

Tackling organised crime is hard, perhaps one of the most complicated challenge for states in the evolving global order. Both within and outside of their territories, it requires a coordinated approach across multiple areas of government responsibility. And it also often involves the military. But the use of military assets in the fight against organised…

People Smugglers Globally 2017

The global drivers for the irregular movement of people, from human security to economics, are growing, not dissipating. In 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 65.6 million ‘forcibly displaced people worldwide’, 22.5 million refugees and 10 million stateless people. Globally, there are some 767 million people living below the poverty…

In the African context, does ‘Human trafficking’ need a new definition?

The international debate on human trafficking packages the problem neatly, but offers few solutions for Africa. Combating human trafficking has become one of the biggest global challenges, attracting high-level pledges of support from world leaders, especially in the West. Barack Obama and Pope Francis both urged universal commitments in the fight against it; the UK…

Why is there still a migrant crisis in Europe? (audio)

I had the honour to be interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s The Briefing Room, explaining how a migrant would use a smuggler to get from West Africa to the Mediterranean. It was super to also hear the commentary of Mattia Toaldo of the European Council on Foreign Relations, as well as two other experts from IOM…

Podcast: In Migrant Crisis, When Are Smugglers ‘Saviors’?

Peter and I were pleased to be invited by TinySpark, a non-profit news program and podcast that reports on philanthropy, nonprofits and international aid, to do a podcast on Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savour.   We discuss our years-long investigation into the migration crisis, and the role of smugglers, and describe the complex portraits of those involved…

What Pricing Tells Us About the Nature of the Smuggling Business

We are trying to combat an industry that we refuse to properly analyze, I explained via a blog on Refugees Deeply. More and better data on pricing and payments to smugglers could inform policies that actually reduce smugglers’ profits and provide for better migration planning. West Africans return to Niger from Libya on March 31, 2017. AFP/ISSOUF…

Libya: a patchwork state sewn together along trafficking lines

A series of airstrikes over the course of April 2017 in and around the town of Sebha in southwestern Libya have not made the international news.  But for Libyans they are extremely noteworthy.  Firstly, because they are the first airstrikes to target Sebha, the capital of the Libya’s Fezzan region, since the ‘liberation’ of Libya in 2011.  Secondly,…

Illicit Flows and Local Conflict Dynamics

Mark Shaw and I were very pleased to be able to contribute to a UN University lead research series on the “Crime-Conflict Nexus“, with an outstanding set of co-authors, including John de Boer, James Cockayne and Louise Bosetti from UNU; Vanda Felbab-Brown from the Brookings Institute, and Sasha Jesperson from RUSI. Our two papers were…

EU Policy Notes: OC-CT Nexus and intersection of Migration-CVE

By invitation of the CT-Morse project, a policy advisory, support and monitoring unit for the EU’s programmes in counter-terrorism, I’ve had the pleasure to lead the development of two policy notes: Examining the Nexus between Organised Crime and Terrorism, and its Implications for EU Programming Co-authored with Colin Clarke of Rand / ICCT-The Hague, and Laura…